NBA free agency's fantasy implications
By Steve Schwarz, Fantasy Sports Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Not all the pieces have fallen into place for 2012-13, but there are still plenty of just-signed free agents we need to evaluate for the upcoming season.
The easiest free agents to project are those who stayed with their own team. About a dozen fantasy-worthy stars and solid fantasy backups made the decision to stay with their original teams; including Deron Williams in Brooklyn, Kevin Garnett in Boston and Andrew Bynum in Los Angeles.
It's more difficult, but not impossible, to project the statistics of players with new teams and we will cover them too.
Staying at home
Williams may lose a couple of points worth of scoring now that the Nets have added talented scorer Joe Johnson to the backcourt, but Deron has proven over the past nine seasons that he's close to a 20-point, 10-assist guy. Of course, this situation could be drastically altered if Dwight Howard comes to town.
Garnett played 60 of 66 games this season and 20 playoff games and got better as the season wore on. That's not supposed to happen to 36-year-olds with 17 years in the NBA. Garnett will never return to his Minnesota production level, but 15 points and eight-plus rebounds is a sure thing.
Bynum had a breakout season in 2011-12 averaging 18.7 ppg and 11.8 rpg. The addition of pure point guard Steve Nash to the Lakers backcourt can only enhance Bynum's scoring potential, so at the least he should repeat last season's totals.
The Spurs' Tim Duncan is a future Hall of Fame forward who, like Garnett, isn't what he used to be, but is still a solid fantasy asset. Gone are the days of averaging 40 minutes, 25 points and 12 rebounds, but Duncan can, and will, still give you 15 and nine in his reduced role.
Indiana matched the offer to Roy Hibbert to keep the rising star in a Pacers uniform. He arrived in 2008-09 with very little offensive game, but last season improved to the point that he's worthy of a starting spot on your fantasy team. He averaged 12.8 ppg and 8.8 rpg and made the NBA All-Star team for the first time. There is no reason he can't continue his upward climb and give you 14 points and 10 rebounds next season.
Milwaukee's Ersan Ilyasova posted career highs in minutes (27.6), points (13), rebounds (8.8), assists (1.2), field goal percentage (.492) and 3-point percentage (.455). It's all about opportunity and Ilyasova should see 30-plus minutes in 2012-13 and his statistics should go up correspondingly.
To the dismay of Ty Lawson owners, Andre Miller will remain in Denver for the next few seasons. Miller's 27.4 minutes-per-game was his lowest average since his rookie season (1999-2000) and so was his 9.7 scoring average. He doesn't figure to increase either figure, but because he is still a Nugget, Lawson (16.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.6 apg) should also see stagnated totals.
On the move
Ray Allen has jumped to the champion Miami Heat and will provide superior outside shooting. Unfortunately with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh hogging most of the shots, Allen's fantasy value will be limited no matter how high his shooting percentage.
Jamal Crawford has been a scorer wherever he has gone. Now on his sixth team, he'll play the sixth-man role for the Clippers replacing Mo Williams (Utah) and Nick Young (Philadelphia). He's an excellent foul shooter, but gives you little in the other fantasy categories.
Center Chris Kaman (13.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg with New Orleans) joins the Dallas Mavericks and should make a solid front court with Dirk Nowitzki. With Kaman, the most important factor is health. When he's good, he can be a valuable asset. The bad news for those who want to take a shot at the 7-footer, he's only played more than 66 games in two of nine NBA seasons.
Steve Nash will be the best point guard that Kobe Bryant has ever played with in an NBA game. The same can be said for Pau Gasol, Bynum and every other Lakers player. It will be interesting to see how Nash and Bryant share the ball, but assuming Nash can stay healthy at 38-years-old, his numbers shouldn't change much. Think 14 ppg and 11 assists.
Luis Scola doesn't get much press, he just goes out and plays the game the way its supposed to be played. In five seasons with Houston, Scola averaged 14.5 ppg and 7.7 rpg playing 386 of a possible 394 games. The Suns don't have many outside threats, so the ball will go into the post on most occasions and that strategy should be good for Scola's fantasy production.
Ramon Sessions was a backup in Cleveland and didn't like it. His statistics improved with the Lakers where he started 19 of 23 games. His signing with Charlotte could end up being a sticky situation if Kemba Walker wins the starting point guard role. This could be a situation fantasy owners will want to avoid.
Nick Young may have found a great spot in Philadelphia where he's going to be one of the few players on the roster who can actually make a 3-point shot. In Washington where he started 32 of 40 games last season he scored an average of 16.6 ppg on 40.6 percent shooting from the field. All his numbers fell when he came off the bench with the Clippers in the second half of the season. Unless the team decides to go with a backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, a situation that would leave the team without a solid backup point guard, Young will be the team's starting shooting guard on Opening Day.
07/17 14:19:01 ET